You’ve seen me get pretty excited about some of my recipes. When I create something that tastes as good as I imagined it would, I have a hard time containing my enthusiasm and I know it spills over here. If I manage to nail a recipe, I feel like Canada just won the gold in Olympic Hockey. Oh wait a second…we did just win the gold in Olympic Hockey. In fact, we won gold in both the men’s and women’s Olympic Hockey. No wonder I am in a state of pure joy. We took the hockey world by storm AND my low carb Thai Fish Cakes rocked. I get pretty excited when a recipe tastes as good as I hoped it would, but I get even more excited when a recipe tastes even better than I imagined. This is one such recipe.
Thai fish cakes have been on my to-do list for a while now, and once I discovered barramundi at my local Trader Joe’s, I thought it was time to play around a bit. Besides being a sustainably farmed and Omega-3 rich fish, barramundi is incredibly versatile. It’s quite a firm white fish, so it holds together really nicely and lends itself well to a number of different cooking methods. In some ways, the texture of barramundi is more like chicken than fish, and this trait makes it perfect for things like fish cakes. Once it’s processed with the other ingredients, it doesn’t fall to pieces and you can shape it quite easily. And the cakes don’t fall apart when they hit the hot oil, as some more fragile fish might do. Since it’s very mild-tasting, the end result is anything you want it to be. Spice it and flavour it the way you like it best.
I did my research on Thai Fish Cakes and I consulted quite a few recipes. Of course, I had to modify them as they all included brown sugar. I also changed things up because I didn’t want to open a full can of coconut milk just to add a few measly spoonfuls to the recipe. And since I’d recently bought myself some coconut butter, I decided to try that along with a few tablespoons of water. I increased the spices a bit because I like a little kick to my food. The end result took me by surprise. I expected good flavour, but I took one bite and fell in love. And I couldn’t stop eating these little guys! I love that traditional Thai fish cakes are on the small side, meant to be eaten as a finger-food instead of with a knife and fork.
As for the spicy mayo, all the recipes I saw had some sort of dipping sauce to accompany the cakes. Many times it was a sweet chili garlic sauce made with, you guessed it, sugar. So I just mixed a little mayo and hot sauce together instead. But I honestly felt like the cakes didn’t need it, that they were just as good on their own. A squeeze of lime was enough for me, but my husband liked to dab the mayo on top. Either way, these are seriously good. And if I haven’t managed to convey my enthusiasm, then I haven’t done my job properly!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored via the NoshOn.It Publisher Partner Program by a leading barramundi producer. All opinions, thoughts, recipes, photography, random tangents and incoherent ramblings are my own.
Thai Fish Cakes with Spicy Mayo
- 1 lb barramundi filets skin removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 tablespoon coconut butter
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce use Red Boat for paleo
- 2 tablespoon water
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- Lime wedges
- Spicy Mayo:
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise use Primal Kitchen for paleo
- ½ to 1 teaspoon hot sauce or Sriracha
- For the fish cakes, combine fish, coconut butter, fish sauce, water, garlic, ginger, cilantro, chili powder, pepper flakes, cumin and coriander in the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse until mixture becomes a thick paste (you will need to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula several times).
- Form into 1.5 inch balls and press into patties about ¾ inch thick. You will need to wet your hands frequently to keep the mixture from sticking.
- In a large skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil until melted and pan is hot.
- Add about half of the fish cakes, careful not to overcrowd them, and cook 1.5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook another minute to minute and a half, until golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining oil and cakes.
- For the mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and hot sauce in a small bowl.
- Serve cakes hot with a dab of mayo and lime wedges for garnish
Natalie Schrier says
I had my doubts about how well these fish cakes would hold together without any kind of binder like almond flour, but man was I wrong. These were so tasty and the consistency was perfect. I used coconut cream that I chilled in the fridge instead of coconut butter. I finished the fish cakes off in the broiler for a little extra crisp on top. Topped them with a simple cabbage and carrot slaw. Highly recommend and will definitely make these again. Thanks so much for the recipe!
I made this with Blue Grenadier and was surprised how easy it was to make. It wasn’t sticky and held together perfectly. I had to substitute coconut cream for butter and parsley for cilantro, but my family loved it (also that I actually cooked – not a cook!). They loved them so much I wondered if they could be cooked and frozen?
I don’t think coconut butter is available at my area. Can i make it or can I replace it with something else?
Is the fish raw when you process it?
Guy Meredith says
These look seriously delicious! I will try them this evening with some local (to Cape Town) Cape Salmon, I am sure they will be delicious. Thanks for posting this – I too am a Type 1 Diabetic, so it is always a treat finding excellent low-carb recipes!
The nearest TJ to me is about an hour away. Is there another white fish that would make a good substitute?
Any firm white fish will be fine.
Thanks for this recipe !
I had never heard about Barramundi before, although I shop at Trader’s joe a lot.
I think the coconut oil/butter makes a fantastic flavor, it was my first try with that product and it was great 🙂
I used Soy sauce instead of Fish sauce, just because it’s what I had, and I guess it’s ok.
As carol said, I have the same comments with the garlic cloves…
Was hoping for some dinner inspiration when I checked your post. Went right down to the local TJs and bought barramundi, couldn’t believe I actually had all the other ingredients! (Don’t remember why I bought coconut butter but I hadn’t opened the jar yet so I’m glad I was able to use some!) The flavor was very, very good. I think I should have chopped the garlic or pressed it first because I did have to pull out some pretty big chunks from the mixture. Next time, and there definitely will be a next time! I might add some onion or green onion and kick up the heat a little. Maybe even add a little preserved lemon. What kind of chili powder did you use? Thanks for so generously sharing your passion!
I am unable to find coconut butter locally. Is there something else that could be substituted or could I make my own coconut butter by processing fresh coconut?
Or you can just use coconut milk and forego the 2 tbsp of water.
alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
these look fabulous! On my weekend list
Tanya Schroeder says
I am lucky in that my kids adore fish. These little cakes would be perfect for them to eat, although I’d have to dial down the spice for them. I have never even heard of Barramundi, but I am thrilled to have a new fish to explore!
It’s really versatile and healthy so see if you can find it!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
These fish cakes look so perfect, all golden brown and filled with flavor. Beautiful!
Thanks, Jocelyn. They were so good and for me to rave over them isn’t just hype!
Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living says
Love this Carolyn – I made something similar a while back using salmon, but I’ve been loving barrimundi now that I’ve been able to find it at Trader Joe’s. Thai flavors are one of my favorites. Looks fantastic!
These totally blew my mind, they were so flavourful. I can hardly wait to make them again!
There’s not a ton of fish sauce in the recipe, so it might not matter too much, bu do you know if fish sauce is gluten free?
Hi Cici…it probably depends on the brand. There is a brand called Red Boat this is just simply fish and salt so it’s totally paleo and GF. A few other brands have sugar in them and may be cross-contaminated, I am not sure.
Bob Stannard says
I’m going to try this with some smoked, fresh water bass that I smoked this morning. Can’t wait.
They look so yummy! I must try them 🙂